Businessmen challenge FUL delay by CoP

Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher. - File photo by Roger Jacob
Police Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher. - File photo by Roger Jacob

TWO businessmen have been permitted to challenge delays by the Police Commissioner in deciding on their applications for provisional firearm user’s licences.

In one case, the delay is some 17 years and in the other it is three years.

On June 18, Justice Kevin Ramcharan granted a Diego Martin manager leave to pursue his judicial review claim against the commissioner. On June 17, Justice Margaret Mohammed permitted a Penal businessman to do the same.

In the matter before Ramcharan, which will come up for hearing in September, the Diego Martin manager said he applied in 2007 for a provisional licence.

In the matter before Mohammed, the Penal businessman said he applied in January 2019. His lawsuit will come up for a hearing on December 5.

Both men are seeking orders to compel Commissioner Erla Harewood-Christopher to decide on their provisional licence applications.

In their lawsuits, the two applicants said they were first told their files were being processed. After repeated enquiries, they were told their files could not be located and advised to reapply, which they did in 2020 and 2021.

They both supplied the relevant documents and were told there were no objections.

The Penal businessman said in an update, he was told there was a backlog of applications but his would be reviewed and he would be given an update in six months. He was also told critical aspects of the investigation on him had yet to be done before the CoP could make a decision. He was told to update his medical and psychiatric evaluation.

In April 2024, attorneys for both men made freedom of information requests for updates on their applications. Pre-action protocol letters were also sent in April.

“To date, the commissioner has failed and/or omitted to render a decision to the intended applicant’s/applicant’s application for a provisional licence,” each lawsuit contends.

Their lawsuits acknowledged that although there is no time limit for the commissioner to make a decision, one “must be made without reasonable delay.”

“Delay, where it arises, does not accord with good administration and is justifiably recognised as legitimate grounds to warrant judicial review.

“Administrative decisions by administrative bodies directly impact upon the rights of citizens and most therefore be exercised in a way that is fair, just and proportionate.

“The CoP has been provided sufficient time to complete any further

investigation on the firearm file and the provisional licence ought to be issued forthwith,” both lawsuits also said.

The two said they were investigated and the necessary reports were generated for their applications, so there was nothing more for the police to do before issuing the licences.

The two are represented by attorneys Keron Ramkhalwhan, Shalini Sankar and Annesia Gunness.

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